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Old 12-02-2019, 09:21 PM   #1
ghmerrill
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PageEdit alternative?

Just updated my Sigil release and installed PageEdit.

Since Sigil supports the use of an "alternative xhtml editor", I'm wondering if there in fact is an alternative xhtml editor more full-featured than PageEdit with which Sigil interfaces smoothly. Or if, in that direction, there be dragons.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:53 PM   #2
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Sorry, but I think walking into a place devoted to developing a product and asking a question like yours, in their forum, is in bad taste.

The Developer did provide a method to allow you to go elsewhere for this option.
I suggest you use a more general forum to ask about alternatives.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:05 PM   #3
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There's nothing that would have any kind of extra integration with Sigil like PageEdit does (open the opf to open all files). Any other xhtml editor would be just that. You'd be opening an xhtml file in the external editor and saving the changes back to Sigil when done. Just like the functionality that was always available with Sigil's "Open With" feature.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post

Sorry, but I think walking into a place devoted to developing a product and asking a question like yours, in their forum, is in bad taste.

The Developer did provide a method to allow you to go elsewhere for this option.
I suggest you use a more general forum to ask about alternatives.
What???

The Sigil developers hated Book View so much that they got rid of it, then implemented PageEdit purely to cater to people who still think it's a good idea...

and you think their fragile ego will be offended by the possibility that someone might want to explore their options w.r.t programmers' editors for complex XHTML reformatting and refactoring, rather than use PageEdit?

This is in fact the Sigil forum, not the PageEdit forum. The OP hardly walked in here and started asking whether Adobe InDesign is better than Sigil.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
There's nothing that would have any kind of extra integration with Sigil like PageEdit does (open the opf to open all files). Any other xhtml editor would be just that. You'd be opening an xhtml file in the external editor and saving the changes back to Sigil when done. Just like the functionality that was always available with Sigil's "Open With" feature.
Thanks. Exactly the kind of response I wanted -- and mostly expected. The idea of using an external XHTML editor that doesn't interact dynamically with SIGIL (as Book View did and PagedEdit does)seems kind of wonky. And I'd be concerned that use of the external editor might gooble up the files in painful ways. But maybe I'll play with it just for grins, though probably not.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:30 PM   #6
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If the external editor in question had it's own WYSIWYG editing/rendering capabilities, I would think you would be able to use those, but I wouldn't swear to it. You might potentially have to change some settings to make sure it's generating xhtml that Sigil will be able to deal with when it gets it back. But a more fully-featured xhtml editor that would let you edit the markup (and maybe even preview how things would render) should be doable. That's part of the reason the "Open With" feature (of which the preferred external html editor preference setting is a descendant) was created in the first place.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:12 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
What???

The Sigil developers hated Book View so much that they got rid of it, then implemented PageEdit purely to cater to people who still think it's a good idea...

and you think their fragile ego will be offended by the possibility that someone might want to explore their options w.r.t programmers' editors for complex XHTML reformatting and refactoring, rather than use PageEdit?

This is in fact the Sigil forum, not the PageEdit forum. The OP hardly walked in here and started asking whether Adobe InDesign is better than Sigil.
I will give you your points. Since there is not a separate PE forum, this has has become the stand in, at least as far as Sigil usage.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
If the external editor in question had it's own WYSIWYG editing/rendering capabilities, I would think you would be able to use those, but I wouldn't swear to it. You might potentially have to change some settings to make sure it's generating xhtml that Sigil will be able to deal with when it gets it back. But a more fully-featured xhtml editor that would let you edit the markup (and maybe even preview how things would render) should be doable. That's part of the reason the "Open With" feature (of which the preferred external html editor preference setting is a descendant) was created in the first place.
At the risk of being tedious, but mostly in the way of explanation, ...

That's sort of what I was shooting for, though it's a risk/benefit trade-off in a couple of ways, and gaining the utility I want on the WYSIWYG side might not be worth the hassle of of "getting it back" into Sigil with accompanying risk.

Honestly, at the moment there are just two things that are bugging me from the user/writer perspective, and that Book View seemed to support (though Book View had it's own oddities and I fully understand the desire to flush it from a development/support perspective):

1. I (and I think most "writers") find it "unpleasant" to actually compose content by typing into a window of unformatted text that's heavily cluttered with tags. It's a bit like my trying to practice my trombone parts while my wife's hammering out Bach on the piano -- really distracting and an impediment to productivity. Believe me: I'm not unaccustomed to composing and editing documents in several varieties of tag languages, and for a number of years I was a very heavy-duty user of TeX. But in terms of just the actual writing/composing/content side of things, these are not the most productive approach. So (for me and, I think, other writers) even a fairly minimal set of WYSIWYG features is seen as a huge boost in pain-free productivity. Any kind of "preview" mode just doesn't make up for that (and we've known that since the SGML days). Which leads to ...

2. I'm now somewhat more than 350 pages into a book that's been written entirely with Sigil, and now cruising downhill towards the finish. For reasons I won't go into here, I have the need fairly frequently in this book to add links in the text either to other parts of the book or (much more often) to external sources on the Web. Unfortunately, although PageEdit appears to display links, I can't create or edit them in PageEdit -- and what it displays aren't even actually links, but just the highlighted text where there is a link in the XHTML code, although of course the Preview does display the functional link. But the main productivity hit for me is that when I need to add a link, I can't just do this from PageEdit in the (now "normal" in most editors) way of highlighting the text and clicking to get a link insertion dialog, and boom I'm done. Instead, I have to go into the source window, find the phrase I want to add the link to (which often is not that straightforward, given the lack of formatting, tag clutter, and lack of direct alignment with the PageEdit window), and then add the link.

So that's the dilemma that I'm trying to work around somehow. I'm not going to abandon Sigil, and so of the two horns of the dilemma, I'll probably attempt to adapt to composing in unformatted text in the source window and adding my links there as I'm composing. Or maybe I'll compose in formatted chunks in something like (yuck) Word and then just drop the resulting text into the Sigil source window and add formatting and links. And I may try the approach of using an external WYSIWYG XHTML editor or two and see how that goes since that may turn out to provide a bit more facility then the Word/plop approach. Or I suppose that I could just reinstall an earlier Sigil version and then update when the book is finished -- or maybe use the old and the new in parallel in order to check things on a periodic basis (assuming backward compatibility and all that). That might not be an outrageous idea for my own situation.

In any event, I appreciate the feedback you've provided and your suggestions, and they've provided me with some food for thought.

Last edited by ghmerrill; 12-04-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:31 AM   #9
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To be honest. I'm just utterly baffled that anyone would choose/want to compose an entire novel in Sigil (Book View or PageEdit). There's just soooo many ways to get xhtml out of legitimate authorial tools (free and paid), that I can't think of any valid reasons why someone would use Sigil to write books. There's so many import/export tools for Word/OO/LO alone to allow people to write in a full-featured word processor and get xhtml into Sigil (without copy/pasting). There's even tools to export epubs directly from word processing apps. Then it's just a matter of using Sigil (and its plugins) to make tweaks.

People are free, of course, to use Sigil in ways that none of its developers ever really intended, but they just need to know that we don't really even consider that element when making development decisions.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 12-04-2019 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:37 AM   #10
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Page Edit can insert a Sigil Split File marker. Which suggests to me that the ability to insert a hyperlink might be a reasonable expectation for a future version.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:49 AM   #11
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Why duplicate things that are in Sigil itself. You can easily add links using Sigil (no need to type them by hand).

Second, if you are using the latest PageEdit, there are two modes of operation. Once is Edit mode (the default) which will allow you to edit and change things, and one for preview mode, where editing is temporarily disabled but links then become active and you can navigate around in PageEdit using those very links. Hitting the icon will toggle the mode so editing is just a single icon click away.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
To be honest. I'm just utterly baffled that anyone would choose/want to compose an entire novel in Sigil (Book View or PageEdit).
It's not a novel. I made the Sigil decision several years ago after a careful consideration of the entire process from the initial stages through publication. I think that at that time -- and for me -- it was the best and most versatile decision. At this point in time it may not be, but I still believe that it's quite viable and provides some significant advantages over common alternatives. And part of that is the control it offers me at the XHTML level. Book View offered the advantage of composing generally in WYSIWYG, and otherwise Sigil seemed to me to be quite well thought out, designed, implemented, and tested, and to provide more confidence than other alternatives. That may have changed, but I'm not about to make the change prior to finishing the book, and I'm skeptical that short of some high-end and costly software that I'd gain anything.

For comparison, one alternative I had at the time I decided to go with Sigil was to use my wife's copy of Dreamweaver. I'm not totally inexperienced with Dreamweaver, tried it a bit, but didn't care for the result.

You just can't ever tell about users and their needs and goals. They'll often baffle you.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:00 PM   #13
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Page Edit can insert a Sigil Split File marker. Which suggests to me that the ability to insert a hyperlink might be a reasonable expectation for a future version.
Ummm ... yes ... but beware the creeping feature ... the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:07 PM   #14
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Why duplicate things that are in Sigil itself. You can easily add links using Sigil (no need to type them by hand).
It's not a duplication. (And by the way, nothing was said about typing the links by hand.)

The most difficult part of software design/development is getting the developer to put himself or herself in the position of the user in order to see what the user sees as a need and why it's seen as a need.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:40 PM   #15
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The most difficult part of software design/development is getting the developer to put himself or herself in the position of the user in order to see what the user sees as a need and why it's seen as a need.
As I mentioned, we're just not going to be putting ourselves in the position of the user that wants to use Sigil as an authoring tool. It's not that it's too difficult. It's the fact that we're simply not looking to promote Sigil as an authorial tool. We're developing an epub editor, not a writing (or content creation) tool.

Every development decision we make tends to be predicated on users looking to modify pre-existing epubs, or users creating epubs from pre-existing xhtml content and then tweaking. We're not looking to cater to folks wanting content creation tools.

The notion of people using Sigil to write content (either in wysiwyg mode or using xhtml) from scratch isn't something we're prepared to encourage. You're certainly free to try to continue to use it that way, but I fear there will be very little in the way of new Sigil development to make it any easier for you to do that. We're simply making development decisions that are probably going to continue to run counter to your needs.

We're focused on epub creating/editing/formatting. Not content creation. Always have been.
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